Search form

Nicolás P. Villarreal’s ‘ON/OFF’ Gains Guinness World Record Recognition

The 2020 animated short has apparently racked up more than 1100 awards, making it, according to the record-keeping authority, the world’s leader in most awards won by a short film; the 7-minute film, illustrated in colorful ab­stract shapes and questions, poses the question of how modern-day distractions impact artistic inspiration.

It’s not often one hears of independent animation entering the annals of world-breaking records, but such is the case for Nicolás P. Villarreal’s animated short ON/OFF, featured by AWN back in 2021 following its Oscar qualification (and, of course, its numerous awards!). The film initially premiered in 2020 at various film festivals in Europe, Latin America, the United States, and Canada.

Created by the Villarreal - a California-based Argentinian film and animation director, ON/OFF has been officially entered into the Guinness World Record for "Most awards won by a short film."

The captivating seven-minute short celebrates structure, discipline, and focus. It is illustrated entirely in colorful, abstract shapes - including the character design. The film ON/OFF has apparently won an astounding 1,125 awards.

Directed by Villarreal, the film was produced by the team at the Red Clover Studios, producers of his other award-winning animated shorts, Pasteurized and Nieta. He is currently working on a live-action feature, with shooting slated to begin the end of 2023.

Villarreal noted, "having obtained the Guinness Record gives the short another opportunity to achieve greater reach, impact, and importance with the message, which is the most important thing."

ON/OFF conveys Villarreal’s view that current technology and social media can be a significant distraction to creative minds and discipline. It inspires audiences to question how much time they dedicate to their passions if they are distracted by “ephemeral content and interactions on social media and how this can interrupt the creative process.”

It also speculates on what creative geniuses like Frida Kahlo, Da Vinci, Beethoven, and Tesla would do if they had access to modern technology. ON/OFF uses surreal settings to answer this question, for example, showing Frida Kahlo in a modern context, balancing her life between artistic inspiration and the distractions introduced by technology.

“Two different worlds that meet in a subway car that seems to be traveling towards the destiny of humanity,” Villarreal writes. “ON/OFF is an invitation to fight to achieve our goals. To leave behind any distraction that gets in the way, and above all, to aim for the highest.”

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.